Sunday, February 26, 2006

And Down The Stretch They Come!

Well that was fun. Or not. Team USA was a disappointment, but not nearly as much of a disaster as Team Canada. So Hockey was a bust as the Swedes stole the gold right from Finland’s hands. While teams that overpowered the international scene four years ago find little comfort after getting to the quarter finals and failing to continue, the Nordic teams steam rolled their way into the goal medal game and Sweden takes home the shiny hardware.

But now it’s over. Now it’s for Lord Stanley’s Cup. And the home stretch is the last chance for deadline trades, pushes for that 8th spot in the Conference Standings, and jockeying for home ice advantage.

For the Capitals it won’t be about making the playoffs, but who they can sell, how they improve our chances next season, and build off their successes. Needless to say that there is a lot of work to do for this team to be considered a Eastern Conference threat.

A possible trade on the horizon that seems almost certain is Brendan Witt. The only question is where? Nashville Predators has expressed some interest to thicken their defensemen. George McPhee will defiantly be a busy man the next couple of weeks.

What the Caps need to shop for is a stronger blue line. The lack of strong defensive group in experience could use a couple of veterans in front of Olie Kolzig. Possible defensemen to trade would be Mathieu Biron, Ivan Majesky and Mike Green (although I think Green is one of the better players on the team). McPhee needs to get out of the state of mind that big defensemen means more physical play. Not in the new NHL.

Caps must also find some more offensive weapons to fill out the top lines. At one point the entire checking line were the second leader scorers behind Alex Ovechkin. The top line needs goal support from the other groupings. Alex Semin may help, but the Caps can not afford another legal tussle with the Russian Super League.

Capitals will be looking to get some kind of advantage out of their prospects, but need to find experience to push their team from a novelty to true competitors. Circus shots can only take a team so far, this team must be more rounded to make some noise next season.

No comments: